Sunday, May 20, 2012

What should the city do with $653,220 in new tax-duplication revenue?

The Montgomery County Council, just last week, supported a $653,220 payment to the city for Municipal Tax Duplication for Police Services. This is money we had not anticipated receiving. Thanks go to City Manager Barb Matthews, Police Chief Ronald Ricucci, and Mayor Bruce Williams for really pushing this issue. And thank you to the county council for voting for this payment.

What should the city do with this money?

I suggested to my council colleagues that we apply this tax-duplication payment... to reduce tax duplication. The city is gaining unforeseen revenue that it could apply to reduce its FY13 property-tax rates.

Some of my council colleagues disagree. They would have the city retain the funds and not reduce tax rates.

Whatever your opinion, now is the time to weigh in. Please attend the council meeting, Monday evening May 21, to voice your opinion during the public-comment period.

If you can't attend the meeting, please contact city-council members by e-mail. Write to --

  • Bruce Williams, brucew@takomagov.org
  • Fred Schultz, freds@takomagov.org
  • Reuben Snipper, reubens@takomagov.org
  • Kay Daniels-Cohen, kaydc@takomagov.org
  • Tim Male, timm@takomagov.org
  • Seth Grimes, sethg@takomagov.org

Do note that city services would not be cut if the tax-duplication funds were applied to reduce tax rates. I'll also say that the time is right for a rate reduction. The council created the TASDI Committee, back in 2004, to study and strategize on Tax and Service Duplication Issues. And the city is in relatively good financial shape: Our fund balances and our prospects for future years, noting that we'll gain additional revenue from an additional set of speed cameras that we expect to install in the coming months.

Lastly, in case you're not up on tax duplication: Takoma Park property owners pay property taxes to both the city and the county. City residents are covered only by city police services (the focus of this additional payment). The county recognizes that city property owners pay taxes to both the city and the county, even though city taxpayers don't receive county police coverage. That's why they're giving us back this additional $653,220, as recompense for tax duplication.

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